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Old 01-25-2019, 11:37 PM
 
Location: WA Desert, Seattle native
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Of your choices, they all differ. If you don't particularly care for snow, Lewiston would be the choice. If you like a rugged forest background, CDA would be your choice. Don't know about Wyoming. Other Idaho spots? Well not sure what you are thinking but if you like cold and snowy, Idaho Falls would be good. If you like even smaller, look at Rexburg (near Idaho Falls), or Pocatello (slightly warmer than Idaho Falls). More toward the west, Twin Falls share characteristics of both Boise and IF/Poky. Mountain Home is a military center, but still has some smaller town features.

I would go back to the title of this thread. Lewiston. Affordable, good climate.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:34 AM
 
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I haven't been up in a decade but found lewiston to be a nice part of idaho I noticed the smell but you'll have that problem in nampa or kuna or anywhere with factories dairies etc. and you'll get used to it
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:23 PM
 
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Thanks, PNW. We do have an abundance of good choices in Idaho, which is nice

Jdoll88, thanks for letting me know about the smells in Nampa and Kuna; wasn't aware of that, but honestly, neither of those towns were high on our list for other reasons.

FWIW, I grew in California's Central Valley, where visitors would always complain about the dairy smell. One part of town also had a rendering plant. It was so stinky that sometimes the kids in the nearby school would be sent home because the teachers couldn't teach, and the kids would be vomiting. But that smell was mostly contained to a few city blocks, due to the low spot where the plant was located.

I rarely noticed either of those smells in my own backyard, but would outright gag when I drove north through a town with a sugar-beet plant. Of course, most local residents said they didn't smell it, or that the smell rarely bothered them.

Having moved out of the valley more than a decade ago, now when we go there to visit family, I absolutely smell every one of those things. So there is some truth to the whole "you will get used to it" idea.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:22 AM
 
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I know lots of people who live in Lewiston and love it. I think you'd forget the smell pretty quickly. I read some other comments mentioning the Palouse. In my opinion, the Palouse region is a lot prettier than Lewiston. It's snowier too, so a trade off there is snow is an issue.
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:04 PM
 
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Thanks for the feedback, Cdarocks! Less snow in Lewiston sounds good, but we absolutely are drawn to outdoor beauty, as well. We definitely need to get up there and explore more of the regions we haven't seen yet.
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
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Default Idaho's Scenery- The Big Picture

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlisonA View Post
Thanks for the feedback, Cdarocks! Less snow in Lewiston sounds good, but we absolutely are drawn to outdoor beauty, as well. We definitely need to get up there and explore more of the regions we haven't seen yet.
If you really want to see them all, prepare for some long-distance travel. Idaho is almost 600 miles long north and south, and about 300 miles at its widest east to west.

All the truly spectacular outdoor stuff lies in the essentially un-inhabited center of the state, which is so wild and remote in parts that it won't ever be inhabited.

But the major cities and their surrounding small towns and inhabitable rural surroundings break down into 4 areas:
1- The panhandle (usually called NID- North Idaho- here) which extends from Lewiston at the south to the Canadian border at the north. The panhandle is relatively narrow, but it's long.

2- North-Central Idaho. This area includes parts of what many folks maintain is part of the panhandle. I'm using this to include some cities that are south and west of Lewiston.
These towns are: Grangeville, Orofino, Riggins, New Meadows, McCall, Council and Cascade on its west side, all small towns, and Salmon on its east side, in a remote pocket by itself. This area is cut in half by wilderness. Of them, Salmon is the largest city, because it's location makes it a service/supply center for a big area.

3-South-Central Idaho. This area includes the Treasure Valley, the largest population center in the state, which lies on the western edge. It includes Boise, Caldwell, Nampa, Meridian, and small towns to the north, Horseshoe Bend, New Plymouth, Weiser, Payette, Emmett.

4- Southern Idaho is broken into 2 corridors with the big Arco desert separating them into west and east.

Southwest Idaho includes Mountain Home, 75 miles south of Boise, Ketchum, Hailey, Gooding, Twin Falls, and the smaller towns Jerome, Gooding, Burley, Rupert, American Falls, Bliss, Hagerman. Twin Falls is the largest.

Southeast Idaho lies in a corridor along the eastern edge of the state It includes Preston, the largest southward city, and neighbors Malad, Montpelier Soda Springs, and Lava Hot Springs.

Northward of Preston lies Pocatello, the most southerly large city in the corridor. Then Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Rexburg, St. Anthony, and small towns Driggs, Ashton, Rigby, Victor, and others.

The SE corridor is the second highest population in the state. Pocatello and Idaho Falls are the largest.

Each area has it's own distinctively different terrain. Each is someone's perfect picture of life in the far west. About the only thing that they all share in common are pine trees, sagebrush, mountains, many streams, and a dry climate.

In General:
Almost all the good agricultural land lies in the south, where most of the vistas are more open and the expanse is wider.
The Arco desert isn't a sand desert. It's the volcanic track of the great Hot Spot that carved its way across the state and is not under Yellowstone Park, just outside Idaho's boundaries. The old lava flows in the desert made passage across them impossible at first, but there are a few highways that now pass over the Arco desert, and most of the area is dry steppe that's interrupted by lava flows.

The SE corridor's scenery varies from alpine, with forested mountains and lakes on the east to the eastern side of the Arco desert on the west. It is the headwaters country for the Snake River, the largest in the state and 2nd largest in the northwest, and it all lies on the edge of the Great Divide and the Rockies.

Near the Montana border, north of Ashton, is an ancient volcanic caldera that forms a big flat, forested valley that's about 5,000 feet high that has one small town that is actually a combination of a town and a bunch of commercial vacation lodges called Island Park. The 'Main Street' is actually Hwy.20, and is about 20 miles long.

The closest city is West Yellowstone, Montana. The second closest of any size is Rexburg to the south. Island Park is unique to itself. There's no other area in the U.S. like it.

South-Central's terrain is slightly flatter throughout, with lower rolling hills around Boise that lead to mountains in the east, with the Arco desert on their other side.

Mountain Home lies at the base of a series of high valleys that are separated by rolling forested mountains and more rugged rocky mountains. Each of these valleys tend to also be surrounded by national forests.

North-Central Idaho is heavily forested and has narrower vistas in steeper, narrower canyons. Grangeville lies on a high flat plateau that's also unique to itself.

NID is essentially alpine, with many rolling forested mountains and lakes. Coeur d'Alene, the largest city lies on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, and Sandpoint to the north also lies on a lakeshore, as does some smaller towns.

South of C d'A lies the old mining districts of Wallace and Kellogg, both in steep forested valleys, along with St. Maries, an old logging town on the St. Joe river. The largest metro area is C d'A and Spokane, which lies over the Washington boundary 60 miles west.

So if you want to see it all, prepare to drive in a long line along the west side of the state, then the drive will be a big U that skirts the Arco and goes east, then another long line on the SE side. That drive will only cover the basics. There are a lot of scenic treasures that surround them all that will require many side trips.

Just to see all the state's scenic variety would require about 30 days, I think, mostly spent on the road. Out here, we measure in hours not miles, as the roads are mostly narrow and winding.

I've only covered all the stuff I've actually seen and have been in during my lifetime here. There are many places I haven't been to yet, and it has been as long as 50 years since I was last in others.
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:32 PM
 
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You need to write an Idaho travel book, BanjoMike! Idaho sounds a lot like Wyoming, where we also measured trips in hours - and those hours depended on the weather, too.

We have traveled the Treasure Valley and up as far as IF. The next trip will be up into NID. I may print your message and bring it with us for reference.
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Old 01-30-2019, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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One very minor correction. The Silver Valley, which includes Cataldo, (with the oldest standing building in Idaho), Pinehurst, Kellogg, (and a few other small communities), and Wallace at its eastern edge is more east, slightly southeast from CdA, not south. Interstate 90 runs across the panhandle from Spokane to the Montana border at Mullan.

Going south from CdA on ID-95 will lead you to Moscow, Lewiston, and points south on the western edge of Idaho. ID-95 is the only road that runs the full length of Idaho from the Canadian border to almost Nevada, (it exits Idaho into Oregon, but pretty close to the Oregon/Nevada border).
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
It's interesting.
The folks who live in Lewiston I've talked to all say they seldom notice the smell.
While I've never lived there, I used to go to Lewiston a lot while in college in Moscow, about 25 miles north, and I've passed through the town even more times.
Sometimes there's no smell at all, and other times it's quite strong. Most of the time, there's a little whiff of the pulp mills that comes and goes with a shift of breeze.

Life there must be similar to Milwaukee, where the yeasty smell of beer was always present. Portland Oregon used to smell like that, as there was a big brewery in the middle of town, and after a few days, I found I anticipated the smell as I approached the area.

It was just how Portland smelled until the brewery closed down. My kids who live there didn't notice it like I always did.

Lewiston is a real warm spot, because it's at sea level, lying in a big canyon bottom. The town is a lot sunnier than most canyon towns, too. It lies right at the convergence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, which makes the canyons quite spacious.

That confluence is the reason why the pulp mills are there. Lewiston was the natural spot for floating all the logs downriver to a mill for both rivers. The mills have been there forever, and Lewiston is also Idaho's only sea port. A barge can be pulled from Lewiston all the way to the Columbia and then on to the Pacific ocean.

It's the 2nd largest town in the panhandle; Coeur d'Alene is the largest. While the surrounding scenery isn't quite as impressive as CDA's, it's still pretty, and the town has really a lot of amenities because of its size. But at around 40,000 population, it's still small enough to have a small-town feel.

I like that Palouse region quite a lot. The Palouse begins at Lewiston and ends north of Moscow, and it's different terrain than the rest of the state, all rolling hills with fewer rocky mountains.

The soil that makes it unique is loess, a very fine, fertile soil formed by ancient huge dust storms that scoured all the topsoil off of somewhere in China and dumped it in Idaho during the last ice age. The loess is the best farm ground in the world, and it's quite rare. In the Palouse, it's up to 3 feet thick in some places.
About 20 years ago, on a long trip with a friend, we stayed in Lewiston for about a week (a friend of my friend had...after traveling all over the U.S. for work....put down roots, bought a house, and settled in Lewiston. We stayed with that friend and his wife and kids). I noticed the small every day, but you're right, members of our host family said they rarely noticed the smell. Our hosts really liked living there...the pace, how involved they could stay in their kid's lives, etc.

While scenic, I do (scenery wise) prefer some points north (CDA, Spirit Lake, Sandpoint, Oldtown, etc)
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
22,876 posts, read 15,246,385 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlisonA View Post
You need to write an Idaho travel book, BanjoMike! Idaho sounds a lot like Wyoming, where we also measured trips in hours - and those hours depended on the weather, too.

We have traveled the Treasure Valley and up as far as IF. The next trip will be up into NID. I may print your message and bring it with us for reference.
Parts of Idaho are like Wyoming. Other parts are like Utah, Montana, Washington, and Oregon, but the old vulcanism makes pretty unique, along with the sheer number of mountains we have here.

The mountains are the reason why our population is as low as it is. The pioneers really struggled finding passages through them, and their old wagon roads are the same paths our Interstates followed later on.

From the Interstates, much of Idaho looks barren, but those areas were the only good terrain suitable for passage around, in between, or over the mountains. Once a person gets off them and onto the 2-lanes, the real majesty of my state opens up in one great vista after another.

If a tourist sees a scenic loop sign while driving, and turns off on it, there's always something that will really pay off for the extra time spent driving it.

I got my abiding interest in geology from one of my high school teachers. The intermountain west has some really crazy geology in all its states. He was a great teacher, but didn't stick with teaching very long; after a couple of years, Exxon hired him and he went to Alaska when the oil pipeline was being built. I'm sure he retired quite well off.

He also got me and a bunch of my friends into mountaineering. Between the ages of 17 and 21, a few of us did a lot of peak bagging, and that also gave me the opportunity to see really a lot of country that's the most spectacular here. A couple of those old pals went on to become professional mountain climbing and hunting guides.
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